WHMAT invests significantly in the apprenticeship levy and we currently have 42 live learners made up of 25 teaching staff and 17 support staff who are enrolled on a variety of professional development programmes with a large number of training providers.
Hear from some of our existing staff about how they have utilised fully funded professional apprenticeships to upskill themselves in our video at the bottom of this page.
Support for our Early Career Teachers (ECTs)
At WHMAT, we are justifiably proud of the quality of support and guidance for colleagues at the start of their teaching career and we are fully committed to building on this with the introduction of the new Early Career Framework. This support will not disappear once the induction is over: our career pledges guarantee on-going support for all staff throughout their careers.
As set out in our Early Career Teacher policy, we want to go beyond the statutory requirements and provide the best possible experience for our new colleagues. So in addition to the support of your induction tutor and mentor, you will be guided to gain experience and expertise in self-evaluation. Additionally, you will have the opportunity to observe a range of practitioners to help you develop your practice and work on identified development points.
Hear from one of our ECT mentors about the support provided to colleagues who joined us as ‘NQTs’:
‘Here at Saltley Academy, we value the real importance of nurturing, developing and growing our Newly Qualified Teachers, through their first full year in teaching and throughout every year of their teaching career.
Saltley Academy has a high-quality personalised support package in place for all Newly Qualified Teachers, which has been praised and verified by independent inspectors. Our CPD programme enables all of our Newly Qualified Teachers, to not only pass their Induction years, but also be transformed into Saltley Academy’s next generation of outstanding teachers, TLR holders, middle leaders and senior leaders.
NQTs at Saltley Academy will be assigned a subject mentor, who is an experienced member of staff and a specialist in their area, who will mentor them throughout their induction year, in their chosen specialism and complete their termly NQT reports. Every subject mentor will meet with their NQT once a week to offer them advice, evaluate their progress and provide them with 1:1 support and coaching on agreed targeted areas for their development.
NQTs at Saltley Academy have access to a high quality in house and WHMAT wide personalised CPD programme that allows them to develop their teaching practice, network with fellow colleagues both at Saltley Academy and across the MAT, as well as enables them to develop and evolve into outstanding teachers, both inside and outside of the classroom, whilst working here at Saltley Academy.
Furthermore, NQTs also receive half termly observations from their subject mentor and/or NQT Senior Mentor, which provides them with very supportive, constructive and personalised feedback on their teaching practice, in terms of their strengths and areas for development and how they can enhance it even further. In short, Saltley Academy is a great place for NQTs to work at, as our NQTs are valued, well supported and have great amounts of time invested in them, to enable them to thrive and succeed not only in their first full year in the profession, but also beyond too.’
This reflects the quality of support for new colleagues across WHMAT.
Wellbeing is a key focus for all WHMAT academies via their academy improvement plans and in our 5-year People strategy. We are embedding a culture of collaboration, kindness and support and ensuring that wellbeing is everybody’s responsibility.
These concepts are fleshed out in our wellbeing policy.
Every year we encourage our employees to take place in our anonymous “Workplace and Wellbeing Survey”. This enables us to understand how we are doing in terms of key workplace areas such as communication, line management and trust perception. Once closed, the results are made available to Heads, core team directors and wellbeing champions so that the strengths and weaknesses can be analysed, and an action plan implemented to improve areas for development. We are also looking to embed ‘pulse’ feedback, so colleagues can share praise or raise concerns promptly and appropriately.
Employee Assistance Programme (EAP)
Access our central EAP with Care First for 24/7 confidential telephone counselling or other wellbeing or practical guidance such as issues surrounding mental health and domestic violence.
WHMAT’s Core team and each academy have at least 2 dedicated wellbeing champions (1 support staff representative and 1 teaching representative) who focus on improving the wellbeing of their fellow colleagues & to help drive employee engagement.
The purpose of the champion role is to help implement and support wellbeing and staff engagement through raising awareness of wellbeing activities, promoting healthy lifestyles and positive mental health.
Many are accredited Mental Health First Aiders so that they can support colleagues with mental health issues and signpost to useful resources. They also meet regularly at academy and core team level to consider staff feedback, to organise events and to help make WHMAT a great place to work.
All employees have access to a suite of wellbeing guidance via our wellbeing portal on our internal communication portal “SharePoint”. We want all staff to help embed a culture of openness where colleagues can talk freely and openly about issues affecting their mental health. To that end, managers are encouraged to hold regular wellbeing check-ins using our recommended pro-forma with staff and our wellness action plan pro-forma is available for all staff so that they can identify strategies to support their own wellbeing at work, and continue to bring their best selves to work.
We offer a range of wellbeing and work-life balance benefits to recognise and reward the essential contribution our employees make to our success and growth.
Annual Leave – Support Staff
You will enjoy a generous annual leave allowance, based on length of service. This starts at 29 days for up to 5 years’ service, 32 days for 5-9 years and reaches 34 days when you have 10 or more years of service (pro-rata for part-time staff). This is in addition to the statutory bank holidays and WHMAT compulsory closure days over the Christmas period.
Generous Occupational Pension Scheme
Whether a teacher or support staff employee, you will automatically become an active member of an occupational pension scheme from the start date of your employment (Local Government Pension Scheme for Support Staff and Teachers’ Pension Scheme for teachers).
Incremental Progression and Cost of Living
WHMAT follows the nationally agreed pay scale for all staff. This means that every September, you should expect your salary to go up by one spinal column point until you reach the top of your grade or salary band, the main proviso being that you have fully engaged with our Professional Growth process. Further details are in our Pay Policy. Cost of living rises are also made annually, subject to government policy. This is in addition to incremental rises.
Living Wage Employer
At WHMAT, we are a “Living Wage Employer”. This means that we pay all of our staff at least the living wage rate for the Midlands, regardless of grade.
We operate a notional 36.5 hour working week for support staff and 32.5 hours for teachers and class-based support staff. However, we encourage a culture of flexible working that supports colleagues with their work-life-balance and those with caring responsibilities. For further details, see our flexible working policy.In addition, a number of other supportive policies aid work-life balance and create a family-friendly workplace. These include home-working and our Life Leave Policy, which covers areas such as time off for dependents, house moves and graduations.
WHMAT is fully committed to helping working parents balance work and family life wherever this is operationally and financially possible. We operate a maternity, paternity and adoption leave package which is significantly more favourable than statutory requirements and covers areas such as shared parental leave and parental leave.
Long Service Award
WHMAT’s Board of Trustees recognises and values the contribution of all of its employees, and recognises that some of them have worked for Washwood Heath Multi Academy Trust (WHMAT), or its predecessors, for many years.
We aim therefore to reward loyalty and commitment of employees due to long service of 25 years through a one-off gift up to the value of £150 and a personalised certificate, which could be received on retirement or whilst they are still employed.
Cycle to work scheme
Save money on cycling to work (or pleasure) with Cyclescheme. Cyclescheme is an employee benefit that saves you 25-39% on a bike and accessories. You pay nothing upfront and the payments are taken tax efficiently from your salary.
WHMAT are really pleased to announce the launch of a new optional employee benefit with Citysave Credit Union. Citysave Credit Union have been providing savings and fairly priced personal loans to Birmingham City Council employees for many years and we are delighted that they can now offer this new salary sacrifice scheme to WHMAT employees, to support financial wellbeing with key benefits such as: -
- Deduction directly from net pay salary via payroll
- No bank account fees
- Ability to sub divide your account for specific purposes (e.g. Holidays, Special Events, Christmas)
- Access to pre-paid Visa Debit card
- Local telephone support
- Participation in annual dividend
Eye care voucher scheme
All employees who use display screen equipment are entitled to free regular eye tests and/or a contribution towards glasses in accordance with WHMAT’s eye sight testing policy.
Equality Diversity and Inclusion (ED&I)
At WHMAT, we embrace our diverse staffing demographic. In our most recent Equality and Diversity questionnaire in October 2020, the responses indicated a diverse workforce profile made up of 51.5% White British, 28.92% Asian and 19.58% from 11 other ethnic groups, with 10 religion/belief categories identified. All age brackets from 20-24 through to 65+ are represented.
WHMAT is committed to supporting diversity and equal opportunities in the whole employee life cycle, from recruitment to promotions. We want our staff to be role models to the diverse communities that we serve. We are fully committed to creating a stimulating and supportive learning and working environment based on mutual respect and trust. This will allow staff and students to reach their full potential, regardless of their unique protected characteristics.
We believe that diversity in the workplace starts with recruitment. We anonymise all applications at the shortlisting stage to minimise any conscious or unconscious bias and to ensure that we are focussing solely on a candidate’s ability to meet the essential criteria for the role based on their application.
Our approach to Equal Opportunities is set out in our Equal Opportunities Policy.